International conference on building great cities to take place in Cork next month

27 May 2018
By Bryan Smyth

Hundreds of international delegates interested in the opportunities and challenges facing ‘cities on the rise’ will travel to Cork next month, June 27-30 for the annual congress of the international Academy of Urbanism.

The controversial US ‘ godfather of gentrification’ , Richard Florida, who has been derided by some for espousing a development philosophy that forced working classes out of city centres, is to travel to Cork to speak at the Congress.

This conference will ask how mid-sized cities can provide a strong economy for growing populations while ensuring a quality of life for residents and retaining the place’s distinct sense of identity.

The congress, which is being held in collaboration with Cork City Council, comes at a time when Cork is projected to become the fastest growing city in the country over the next 20 years with the population of the city set to almost treble under the National Planning Framework and planned boundary extension. Up to €375 million worth of development is also underway or recently completed in the city with a significant amount more development in the pipeline.

Other confirmed speakers include Jeffrey Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy with US transportation consultancy, Nelson Nygaard who will speak on autonomous travel or self driving cars and whether they are the answer to city growth. Housing will be a common theme throughout the event with Professor of Social Policy at London School of Economics, Professor Anne Power to speak on ‘Housing and City Growth’while urban renewal expert, Thom Aussems from Eindhoven will discuss how the concept of co-housing works in the Netherlands.

The conference will ask how we can create an urban future that allows economic prosperity to sit alongside inclusion and a strong sense of identity?
Do successful growing mid size cities risk following the bigger cities with gentrification and displacement of existing communities and thereby unwittingly tipping the social balance and potentially creating a ‘new urban crisis?

The Congress will use Cork as a ‘place laboratory’ to explore the challenge of how:
– City growth might benefit local population and contribute to national development strategy
– To appeal to a mobile international workforce while retaining an inclusive sense of local identity
– To accommodate new design within an historic city facing development pressures while retaining positive identity
– To plan for and accommodate growth across a wider city region
– To exploit urban investment to help regenerate smaller towns in the region

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